Dear applicant, here’s why we spent only 6 seconds reading your résumé
What does the perfect résumé look like? Ask anybody, and you’re likely to get a different answer each time. Some mistakes, however, are repeated over and over. Avoiding these will give you a leg up when it comes to grabbing a recruiter’s attention.
1. Lay-out doesn’t matter as much as you think it does
A résumé should reflect your interests, experience and competences. If graphic design is not one of those, then the recruiter won’t expect a flashy document. What you should do, however, is make sure all the information is clearly displayed on the page.
2. Structure, structure, structure!
Something to keep in mind when trying to determine the ideal structure for your résumé is that recruiters read résumés all day. A lot of them. If your document is poorly structured, they will likely skip it and move on to the next one.
Here are some tips:
- List everything chronologically (most recent at the top)
- Group relevant experiences together (e.g. put student jobs together)
- Emphasize any experience that is truly important and relevant
- Use a matrix to describe your language skills
- Limit the number of full sentences
- Stick to one page only
3. Make your résumé a story I want to read till the end
Take these ‘dry facts’ about yourself and construct a story that shows where you have been, what you are doing and why working at their organization is the next logical step.
4. Adapt your résumé for each position
So, take as much information as possible from your motivation letter and put it in your résumé. You can do this by actively comparing the job description against your profile and writing down what matches. For instance, if a job description mentions they are looking for a team player (which most do), then don’t just add this to your list of competences. Instead, include a small description in your employment history that clearly demonstrates your skills as a great team player. Another way to do this is by including a brief description at the top of your résumé that explains why you are applying for that specific position.